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A stroke is a serious medical condition that occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off.
Strokes are a medical emergency and prompt treatment is essential because the sooner a person receives treatment for a stroke, the less damage is likely to happen.
The main symptoms of stroke can be remembered with the word FAST: Face-Arms-Speech-Time:
The brain needs oxygen and nutrients provided by blood to function properly. If the supply of blood is restricted or stopped, brain cells begin to die. This can lead to brain damage and possibly death.
There are two main causes of strokes:
There is also a related condition known as a transient ischaemic attack (TIA), where the supply of blood to the brain is temporarily interrupted, causing a 'mini-stroke'. TIAs should be treated seriously as they are often a warning sign that a stroke is coming.
Source: NHS Choices